There are 3 types of fencing: saber, epee and foil. Saber is the fastest one, my favorite. To answer your question: footwork has to be trained first, you should only train with a sword when youre confident on your feet. It's like when youre a baby, must learn walking for further development. Be patient, the better you are on your feet, the easier you will develop your attacking and defending skills. Tournaments are great for improving and learning, alway record yourself and study with you coach afterwards. Dont have a coach? You have youtube and google that can be your virtual coach. Watch videos of pro and fencers, the ones that are better then you, they wont be better for long. Sorry, i couldnt answer your question in one sentence. My answer is: advanced footwork.